Bluetooth / BLE Asset Tracking and Personnel Tracking
Bluetooth / BLE tracking technology is a RTLS (real time location system) technology solution used to automatically identify or track assets in an area in real time. Whether it’s people, packages, or large machinery, a real time locating system can tell managers the location of tagged pieces. This generally works by attaching a tag to an item or erson. While these move, the tag sends transmissions to fixed receivers in the space. Together, receivers and transmissions data illuminate the physical location of the tag and corresponding item in that moment.
Bluetooth is an emerging technology that enables objects and people to be tracked by either BLE tags and/or by the position of phones that are associated with the asset or person. For example, assets in a facility can be tracked with BLE ‘readers’ whereas vehicles may be tracked based on the driver’s phone’s location.
The primary transformational attribute of BLE technology is the price and range of the BLE ‘reader’. BLE readers are typically less than $75.00, whereas active RFID or UHF RFID detection zones typically cost between $750.00 to $2,500.00. As such, the price for enterprise deployment of BLE is significantly less than deployment of any RFID technology. BLE and active RFID tags are in the range of $20.00, whereas UHF tags range from about $0.25 to $2.50 most commonly.
BLE software can be installed on smart phones and the smart phone will detect RFID tags within approximately 450’. As such, data about objects and people within a facility can be tracked to the phone’s location, as the phone travels in proximity to tags. BLE tags can also be detected by BLE readers, without requiring the use of a phone.
Assets or people that are outdoors and have BLE tags, can be tracked by phones and the phone’s location will be detected by cellular towers. As such, exact GPS locations can be defined and displayed on Google Maps or similar mapping programs. For example, a driver’s phone can detect truck, trailer and container and the vehicle’s location will display on mapping software.
Whereas BLE has traditionally been utilized in retail, museum or similar settings, where the location of the person (based on the person’s phone) is detected by BLE ‘readers’, and content can be pushed to the person’s phone and/or any video screen in proximity. For example, information about a museum exhibit phone visually and/or audibly.